Upcoming Events 2020
US-UA Security Dialogue XI
Washington, DC
March 5, 2020 
New York City
April 30, 2020
US-UA WG Yearly Summit VIII
New York City [Webcasting]
June 17-18, 2020

US-UA Energy Dialogue SE
Washington DC [Webcasting]
June 29, 2020 
UA HES Special Event:
Ukrainians in 1945/75th 
Year Retrospective 
Ukrainian Institute of America
September 26, 2020 
Washington, DC
October 22, 2020
PL-LT-UA Relations
Chicago, IL 
November 14, 2020 


CUSUR 2016 - Project I
US-UA “Working Group” Initiative

The US-Ukraine “Working Group” Initiative was launched in 2007 in order to secure an array of experts in "areas of interest” for CUSUR and its various forums/proceedings; at the same time, it was hoped that the ‘experts’ might agree to write a series of ‘occasional papers’ to identify “major issues” impacting on US-Ukrainian relations.
CUSUR 2017 - Project II
Publication Efforts

Recognizing the urgent need to set up proper channels for the maximum circulation of the information/analysis CUSUR possessed or had at its disposal, the Center long focused on having ‘a publication presence’ of some form or another.
CUSUR 2019 - Project III
DC Occasional Briefings Series

CUSUR did not turn its attention to having a DC presence until summer 2012. Borrowing space when the need arose (particularly for various forum steering committees meetings) from the American Foreign Policy Council, its longest abiding partner, seemed to suffice; an Acela ride from the Center’s NY office did the rest. If there was a concern, it was to open an office in Kyiv.
NATO Requirements Met? "Shared Values" Standard II

Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VII:
"Ukraine and NATO Membership"

Has Ukraine Met the "External Political Requirements" for NATO Membership?
The "Shared Values" Standard

Bruce Jackson

Plenary remarks by Bruce Jackson, President of the US Committee on NATO and the Project on Transitional Democracies, delivered during Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VII: "Ukraine and NATO Membership" Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington DC, October 17, 2006.

I have been asked to talk about shared values, which I think is the most misunderstood and complex part of our debate. If you will bear with me, I would like to run through how this issue came up, its history and what it really means.

I’ll submit for your consideration that we are talking about the marriage of nations and the growth of civilization or civilizations. The topic really is “What is the basis for permanent alliances and common cause between nations?”, or said another way: “How do large communities, such as the community of democracies, expand?” or still another: “How does a civilization grow the number of its core members and constituents organically, naturally, without use of conquest or subjugation?” That's the debate that really began in 1990s in Washington and Brussels.

In the 1990s, NATO claimed that expansion of its institutions was fundamentally political and they simply stated that the criterion was: “…share our basic values and be willing to share the burden of the defense of these values” and that’s all they said.

EU, at the same time, said the opposite. It claimed that expansion was fundamentally based on objective criteria. It was scientific; they could define it. We found, in subsequent European debates, that the “scientific criteria” actually contained historical, cultural, religious— Christian, and other components. The French and Brussels referendum told us that even national fatigue is supposed to be an object of criteria, so we became a little suspicious whether EU's expansion is actually objective. In other words, the whole process was rather obviously political after all.

Between 1995 and 1998, in the Visegrad period, we basically began to create a new metaphor. We said that this was not a discussion between foreign ministers; this is really a marriage between peoples and nations. If you remember at the time, Lech Walesa, Vacel Havel, Pope John Paul II were romantic figures; they didn’t even know the name or the address of their foreign ministries. This was basically a debate being conducted on a far higher level. At that point, the United States explicitly rejected the “objective criteria” concept alone being able to provide the basis for a decision. It was explained famously by our present Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Dan Fried, who compared the “objective criteria” to the SAT scores you take before college. Good scores do not get you into Harvard; they get your file read. That's it: objective criteria doesn't get you in; just gets you in front of the board. There are these other things—subjective criteria which are called “shared values”.

Thus began a long-running slippery and ever-changing discussion of shared values, and hence the creation of the marriage metaphor. This refers to the ratio of tangibles to intangibles in this debate. This is not anthropomorphic; it basically has an explanatory value. Now imagine a young man is looking for a wife. If the woman lives in Tibet, speaks only Urdu, weighs 150 kg and looks like Genghis Khan, you are not going to have a relationship. The same thing happens with nations and potential allies; we agree that geography matters, language matters, size matters and superficial appearances can get things started too. But with nations, as with men and women, these objective facts are not the ultimate positive factor. Marriages are determined by far more complicated and subjective calculus of shared values and they are preceded by an elaborate courtship, a sequence that can drive actions that are aimed and objective. That’s exactly what’s happening in this period. Let me discuss that in a little more depth.

Let's talk about the calculus of shared values. It turns out that there are many types and weightings of each value. They are highly relevant. I’ll run through eight very quickly, so you can look at how this impacts on Ukraine. There are threshold values… please check the box. It’s sort of how a woman says: “I won’t date anybody that smokes”. You’re in or you’re out. “Free and fair elections” is an issue like that: “You are in or out”. It’s a yes or no question; without free and fair elections there will be no further discussions.

And then there are shades of values. We agree that all corruption is bad, but the petty corruption of daily life in Greece is not as worrisome as the judicial corruption in Bulgaria, which not as great as the concern of government corruption in Ukraine, which is nothing compared to systemic corruption in “petro” economies, which in turn is dwarfed by the ideological corruption in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. So it depends what corruption we are talking about. There are many shades.

There are also relative values, relative to history. Anti-Semitism was a far larger issue for Poland than for Hungary or the Czech Republic. It was a critical determinant because of its role in Polish history. Despite significant anti-Semitism and pogroms in Ukraine's history, relative to its entire history, this single value test may not loom as large. Treatment of minorities is a medium weight question for the Baltic states, but it is a determining factor, even today, for Balkans. In fact it is everything that’s asked.

Fourthly there are associational values. This is like “I come from New York and there, everyone is looking for nice Jewish girl”. Well, nations do the same thing, they have these associations. Germany and Austria have long championed Croatia for membership because of shared associations formed over centuries that provided a foundation for that. Other countries that first encountered Croatia during its Ustachi period have far less a foundation for these associations and far more questions. So it depends. Similarly Poland became the champion of the Baltics and Ukraine because of shared associational values. So context matters.

Then there are family values. What does the rest of the family think about you. Remember that public support in Ukraine is awful. It’s kind of like meeting the in-laws. The in-laws hate NATO. So, it’s very hard to have a relationship unless the rest of the family also agrees.

Then there are political values. Nice democracies don't marry autocracies or “managed democracies”. So there is a political context that has to be looked into.

Then there's medical values. It’s self-destructive behavior criteria. He’s a cute guy but he drinks too much. Georgia is a really nice country but it has too many frozen conflicts. These are things you look for. Ukraine has a problem with partisanship and political forms of suicide; people will wonder if there is a self-destructive pattern in all of that.

Then, lastly, there are these topical values that come up at the last moment. Like the fights at the wedding, that becomes all-important. Adoption was the defining issue in Romania. Citizenship criteria in Latvia became huge. “Who shot the Pope?” was the big question in Bulgaria. These issues come up. These are topical and peripheral issues that take center stage at the last-minute and these minor issues become vessels of historic and catastrophic significance. In Ukraine's recent past, Kolchuhas in Iraq or Iran, the murder of a journalist, WTO legislation… these things are big or they can became big. Frankly, in the Gongadze case, if it isn't resolved, I think it will be hugely difficult to get Ukraine permanently into the EU or NATO. An issue can take on that big a significance.

Now let’s just talk about where we are. Due to Ukraine's isolation from Europe and its post 1989 ambivalence about the West, the values debate has not really seriously begun. Interaction hasn’t reached the volume where the historical, cultural, political questions take on significance. Nobody is really asking who these people from Donbas are or “What happened during the wars and pogroms of Ukrainian history?” or “Who is that guy that got the statue in the square; wasn’t he a big war criminal of his age?” Those questions which will come up later in the debate; they haven’t begun yet. The Orange Revolution was really a romantic period, an infatuation. It was really about the superficial attractions that always show up at first. It, so far, has not given rise to serious political inquiry into the soul of Ukrainian nation and the question of its historical future.

So the important message for this crowd is Ukraine's shared values debate lies in front of us not behind us. We’re coming up to it. So let's look at the sequence, or the potential sequence of that debate. This is what we might call the courtship of nations. The threshold issues we passed so far on free and fair elections, yes!!!… political pluralism, more than they can handle… defense reform, going well. So we are somewhere between intensified dialogue and the membership action plan. Shades of issues are beginning to establish themselves. Political stability for Ukraine will be more of a question than it was for Poland. Corruption will be as big a question for Ukraine as it was for Bulgaria or any body else. National unity will be as big a question for Ukraine as it was and still is for Macedonia. So we are beginning to establish which issues are going to be hot.

Relative historical values are not really there yet. We don't know enough to basically ask the question concerning: “What makes Ukraine?”. In a way, I think we do know enough about other countries that are actually members. Associational identity also is somewhat confusing. There is an emerging identity question. Polish or Russian… Which language do you speak as a second tongue, if at all? Are there two or more versions of Ukraine? We’re still getting little confused by what might be called cultural “multi vectorism”.

Then there's the family values issues –ie- we get zero public support, which needs to change. What happened in Feodosia was essentially the equivalent of crashing the car on your first date. It wasn't a good beginning, and so I think there is going have to be a recovery process.

Political values are emerging as a big issue. Competent government, a functioning parliament and something has to be done with the Constitution, because nobody understands it.

These medical values that I’ve already referred to about with regard to self-destruct behavior, we’ve got two. The political chaos and the constant infighting is destructive and also there's still an impression that everybody goes into government service becomes “kleptocrat” the next day. We have to work out of that and we can already see a major topical issue taking on big importance. The gas negotiations with Russia are huge and the people who negotiate gas deals and energy issues everyday are important. This one matters. The whole world is watching it and it’s becoming a defining issue or essentially a proxy for a lot of other issues.

So we basically summarized the courtship and how this thing looks like it is going to progress. NATO has been replaced and superseded as an early issue and basically been deferred beyond the education campaign. That was the decision of the Ukrainian people and, frankly, it is fine with everyone else. Nobody wants to tell Ukraine in what order to pursue its agenda. Economic policy and economic development seems to have moved closer to the fore and has brought with it the upgrade of the importance of WTO legislation and the anticorruption program being conducted under the Millennium Challenge Account and other things that are closely related to economic performance and reform.

The first major test of values will come in the next several months and I mean by values… not only governmental, but also parliamentary, performance and accountability. We could expect that issue to run out, at least, to the middle of next year. The second major test will be the issue of the energy negotiations with Russia, which is proxy for choosing a "European" or "Russian" identity. That situation will be with us, at least for the next 12 to 18 months. Throughout these early periods, the larger question will not concern size, power, or defense reform. It’s about the ethical character of the Ukrainian state… repeat not the Ukrainian people… but the Ukrainian state.

So, this is a schematic of what a shared values debate should look like and roughly where we are in the beginning stages of our look at Ukraine. Let me just offer a rather banal conclusion. I believe that Ukraine shares the values of Europe and United States and will over time gain full membership in major institutions of the West: the European Union, NATO, the global trading system (ed-WTO), the travel system, visa systems. But this is a belief, not a certainty.

The isolation of Ukraine from Europe was ended by a series of events from 1989 onward, and most particularly by the Orange Revolution, and now there exists a window in time until “either Ukraine uses it or Ukraine self isolates again or wanders off onto the Russian steppes”. It’s in this window of time that interaction between cultures and nations should increase.

I am a little critical of Ukrainian officials who don't seem to understand that they have an international Airport in Kyiv. They have got to get on the plane more often and go see everybody else. Just parenthetically, Hungarian officials were arriving here in the States every month for three years, in their NATO period. That doesn’t happen at the highest level with Ukrainians yet. That needs to start happening. Diplomatic, cultural, business contacts should rise in this period exponentially. This should give Ukraine the opportunity to prove somehow very specifically that it shares the values of the West.

I think the case for Ukraine sharing Euro Atlantic values is easy to make, the marriage between Ukraine and other European democracies is historically compelling and the growth of the Euro Atlantic community to include the most significant nation in Europe’s East should be a foregone conclusion. My only doubt lies in whether Ukraine's political class, and I mean from all parties, will find a way to fail the Ukrainian people as they have done with improbable consistency for hundreds of years. Lets hope that doesn't happen and this time we consummate this marriage. Thank you very much.


Past Highlight Events

RT XVII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XVII: Ukraine & Religious Freedom, held in Washington, DC on Oct. 27, 2016
UA HES SE: UA 25th B-Day
Highlights from UA HES Special Event: 'Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Modern Ukrainian State', held at the NY Princeton Club on Sept. 17, 2016
US-UA WG YS IV Highlights
Highlights from US-UA WG Yearly Summit IV: Providing Ukraine with an Annual Report Card, held at the University Club in Washington, DC on June 16, 2016
US-UA SD VII Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue VII held on February 25, 2016 in Washington DC
UA HES SE: WW2 Legacy
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: 'Contested Ground': The Legacy of WW2 in Eastern Europe, held in Edmonton on October 23-24, 2015
Holodomor SE Highlights
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: Taking Measure of the Holodomor, held at the Princeton Club of NY on November 5-6, 2013
US-UA SD III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue III held on May 19, 2012 in Chicago, IL

  • Former UA Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko's keynote
UEAF Forum VI Highlights
Highlights from UEAF Forum VI, held in Ottawa, Canada on March 7-8, 2012
RT XII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XII: PL-UA & TR-UA, held in Washington, DC on Oct 19–20, 2011
US-UA ED III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Energy Dialogue III, held in Washington DC
on April 15-16, 2008
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